The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics

by Norton Juster, who rocks a fishing vest with mad style. How do I know? I saw him in person:

…and had him sign this smart love story for my own love story. When you are part of a couple who prioritizes Jeopardy! and does math problems on diner napkins for fun, this book matters.

Once upon a time there was a sensible straight line who was hopelessly in love with a dot.

Our hapless line jumps through hoops and over hurdles to impress his round red love. Each page is visually stunning; this book reads like a master class in graphic design.

This line, nothing but a straight series of points, becomes a very loud, larger than life character. A simple horizontal line becomes a celebrated daredevil or an international sportsman.

Likewise, the flirty red dot is just as zesty and appealing. It’s JUST a red circle, but Norton Juster characterized her so brilliantly that a simple shape becomes larger than life.

Soon, you are entirely wrapped up in the love story between a dot and a line. A dot. And a line. Two basic graphic elements.

You marvel at the line’s ingenuity,

his vision,

and his dedication.

But does he get the girl and complete his equation?

If the animated endpapers are any consideration, I’d bet on a happy ending.

This MGM animated short from 1965 is such a fun adaptation of Norton Juster’s work, and won that year’s Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. In the spirit of this Hollywood awards season and because Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, spend 10 minutes celebrating the love of a dot and a line. You’ll love it.


  • Posted February 3, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Holy moly that looks awesome!

  • Posted February 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    You throw “mathematics” in there and I’m almost turned off. But the cover intrigues me and once I see some of those inner pages … WOWZA! That is so COOL! Who’d a thunk it? 😉

  • Posted February 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    From the mind of the man who brought us The Phantom Tollbooth, would we expect anything less?!

  • Posted February 6, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink


    I awarded you the Liebster Blog Award. It’s listed on my site:


    And I love this book – I have often given it as a gift because it is so clever!

  • Posted February 8, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Hi Carter-I just dropped by today to let you know that I awarded you the Liebster Award for your blog. I highlighted your blog in my post. Visit this post on my blog to learn all about it.

  • Posted February 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Penny!

  • Ellen Ramsey
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    Love the dot and the line! It is a splendid love story, even for people who don’t do math problems on napkins.
    P.S. I do play word games on diner napkins!

  • Posted February 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Let me know if you are ever in Burbank…I know some good diners!!

  • Posted February 13, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    What a marvellous story! Cute, clever, amusing. :)